Paris (AFP)

"I had in mind a rather gothic album, in the literary sense": Black Francis, surrealist pen and voice raging Pixies for over thirty years, also takes the opportunity to reconnect with the original rock sound of the American group on the exhilarating " Beneath the Eyrie ".

With his tales "Edgar Allan Poetics", this seventh album, released Friday, confirms the revival of the band of Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV, his real name, since the eviction of the bassist Kim Deal late 2013.

Paz Lenchantin, whose similar tone of voice now serves as countering Black Francis' "screaming highs", has succeeded him on "Head Carrier" (2016). And if fans of the "Surfer Rosa" and "Doolittle" masterpieces may have been frustrated by this slightly messy return, this should not be the case this time.

"We wanted to mix acoustic guitars and rhythm guitars, as we did during our first concerts," says Black Francis.

It is in a former church in Hurley Township, New York, built in 1896 and turned into a studio in 1986 (a clever reversal of numbers was enough for the house of God to echo of the devil's music), which the quartet has worked.

"There were particular vibrations coming from the big stained glass windows, where the outside light came in. It gave a funny atmosphere, we felt the natural elements," says guitarist Joey Santiago.

If he concedes that this forest setting, in full winter, certainly accentuated the Gothic theme, Black Francis remains reluctant to evoke the meaning of his texts.

"A song always rests on the same unknown: maybe it will be a story, maybe not, but it starts with a word, then a second comes, then ten, twenty, then we enter the phase of + editing + like in the cinema, "he says.

- buried pain -

And the one who shouts "I am a dog Andalusia", in reference to the film of Luis Buñuel on "Debaser", to continue: "We then look for a rhyming word, to complete the scene that we are going up. a rhyme we love does not fit in, sometimes it's good and changes the film completely, but it does not matter if it's good, if it's understandable, it's okay, otherwise it's okay. "

The strange characters of "Beneath the Eyrie" could have their place in the famous "extraordinary stories" of Poe, which has in common with Black Francis the Bostonian origin. A witch in love ("On Graveyard Hill"), a drunkard addicted to the mandrake ("This is my Fate"), a seal-woman ("Saint-Nazaire"), another one over a giant catfish ("Catfish Kate").

Not to mention the ghost rider of "Bird of Prey", evoking Ichabod Crane, the headless character who haunts the legend of "Sleepy Hollow", immortalized in the cinema by Tim Burton.

In this piece is a buried pain, just listen to it: "You've stolen my tomorrow / So I come for it today / You stole it when you stole my yesterday" ("You stole my next day / So I'm coming to get it back / You stole it when you stole my yesterday ").

"When you write songs, sometimes you reveal personal things without being aware of them, it's only once finished, that you realize," says the 54-year-old author, marked by a recent divorce.

"The strength of a song is its universality, its ability to touch people.There is a balance to be found between the staff and the universal Neil Young achieves it admirably," he continues.

It is on an oxymoron, "Death Horizon" that ends the disc, referring to the very destiny of the Pixies he dissolved in 1993.

"It happened like that, I did not know we would meet someday, my chinese astrological sign is the snake, the snake lives on the ground on the ground, he walks in. He does not look in front or behind. He hears a fishy sound, he runs away, and if this noise is too close, he bites, Since this is in a certain way my nature, it is difficult for me to go back to the past and consider the future. "

© 2019 AFP